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13 Best eCommerce Platforms for Startups in 2021 (Including Pricing)

Want to start an eCommerce website to build a passive income stream? Here are 13 platforms to get you going immediately.
13 Best eCommerce Platforms for Startups in 2021 (Including Pricing)

Startups are absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to eCommerce platforms. Hence, finding the best eCommerce platform for startups might come in a tad challenging.

The industry has exploded in recent years and with its rapid expansion has come a range of providers who have stepped up to serve companies with powerful, inexpensive, and efficient platforms for selling their goods and services online.

In this article, I’ll run through the 13 best eCommerce platforms for startups so that you can pick the best one for you.

I’ve done the research, so you don’t have to!

Let’s jump straight into it.

Note: if you haven’t already read my guide on how to build an eCommerce website, check it out before you decide on a platform.

1. BigCommerce

Minimum entry-cost: $29.95/mo (paid monthly)

BigCommerce shines (as the name might suggest) when you have a large set of inventories, or a complicated eCommerce business that requires a lot of additional functionality.

Their platform truly is a one-stop-shop and includes a lot of the features that you might need 3rd party integrations for if you were using other options.

It’s probably a little too comprehensive and bulky for most startups, but if you’re relying on a complex eCommerce setup with a large catalogue of products – then this is exactly the right fit for your company.

If I were to give my take on the best eCommerce platform for startups (which I am), then BigCommerce would, hands down, be my go-to choice.

2. Volusion

Minimum entry-cost: $29/mo (paid monthly)

Volusion is a veteran in the game of eCommerce and is still going strong after 22 years in business.

It’s a robust and simple eCommerce platform that serves as a great first step for startups who are slowly moving into the space. In addition, it has some of the best analytical capabilities of all the platforms.

Its no-nonsense approach appeals to founders who aren’t awed by the fancy bits of modern platforms, and just want to get down to business as efficiently as possible. I can respect that.

3. Shopify

Minimum entry-cost: $29/mo (paid monthly)

Shopify is the market leader and has been at the forefront of this movement to democratize online selling.

Their platform is reliable, powerful, well-integrated, and provides everything you need to sell your goods all in one place.

It’s definitely the third best eCommerce platform for startups if you ask me.

They now power many of the world’s biggest brands and have proven their capacity to take a startup right to the top, scaling with them as they go.

The community that has been built around the company, with all the various add-ons, plug-ins, and expansions make it even more of a winner when it comes to the best eCommerce platforms for startups.

4. Squarespace

Minimum entry-cost: $18/mo (paid monthly)

Squarespace started as a website builder, but now has become so much more than that.

It’s eCommerce functionality in particular has improved leaps and bounds, and now it stands toe to toe with the giants of the industry.

It’s incredibly convenient to have the eCommerce piece built directly into your website, and so for those startups who already love Squarespace, this is an absolute no-brainer.

I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention that Squarespace still creates some of the most beautiful designs in the industry, so you know that your store will look professional and sleek right from the get-go.

5. WooCommerce

Minimum entry-cost: FREE

WooCommerce is an open-source eCommerce platform that is maintained by WordPress and is a native plugin into WordPress sites across the web.

It has tremendous reach and has proven itself again and again with millions of online stores in every industry you can imagine.

If your startup is building your site on WordPress, then this is an absolute no-brainer because of how seamlessly it integrates.

It’s extremely cost effective and provides great functionality all round – you can’t go wrong with this option.

6. Magento

Minimum entry-cost: FREE

Magento is a very powerful and popular open-source alternative to many of the more advanced eCommerce options.

If your startup has the development resources to deploy this effectively, it can be very useful as a DIY setup that gives you a lot more customization that others.

If you’re looking for something that is quick out the box though, this is probably not the one for you. It requires time and resources to unlock the power of Magento. But if do that – the possibilities are truly endless.

7. Wix

Minimum entry-cost: $28/mo (paid monthly)

In a similar vein with Squarespace, Wix developed itself from a mere website builder to now incorporate powerful eCommerce functionality that rivals the best of the best.

Their platform is one of the easiest to use and it has been designed with ultimate simplicity in mind.

If your startup’s store is not complicated and just requires a lightweight touch, this could be a great option for you – because it gives you everything you need, and nothing more.

This is especially true if your startup is already using Wix for their website. If that’s the case, then look no further.

8. Shift4Shop

Minimum entry-cost: $29/mo (paid monthly)

Shift4Shop (previously 3dcart) is an underrated platform because its themes can feel a bit dated sometimes.

But the truth is that their underlying functionality remains highly compelling and very useful for specific use cases.

They shine with their native blogging capabilities as well as a suite of really helpful business user management tools that make it that much easier to operate the site.

It’s not the softest landing for beginners, but for startups that are willing to invest the time, this could be a choice that pays off handsomely in the long run.

9. Prestashop

Minimum entry-cost: FREE

Prestashop is a free and open-source eCommerce platform that could be a gamechanger if you have the developer chops to implement it effectively.

It certainly isn’t ready to go out of the box, but that’s where the magic comes in. Good developers can turn this framework into an ultra-personalized custom fit that can set your startup apart.

If that’s you, then this platform might just be the secret weapon that gives you a store unlike anyone else’s. The only limit is your creativity.

10. Big Cartel

Minimum entry-cost: FREE

Big Cartel is an eCommerce platform that has specialized itself to cater towards artists and creative startups who are in the art game.

It’s built as a competitor to Etsy and it delivers on that promise by providing a fantastic service for what it’s made for.

If your online store is selling art of any type, or is in the creative field in general, you might be better off going with Big Cartel which is fine tuned for your purposes than one of the other options which are much more generalized.

11. Square Online

Minimum entry-cost: FREE

Square Online is a new development from the payment giant that is Square and offers a very inexpensive way to get an eCommerce store up and running.

Naturally, it fits perfectly within the Square ecosystem, and when it comes to value for money – it’s difficult to beat.

They’ve learned a lot from their Weebly acquisition, and this product feels like a very interesting implementation that is lightweight and bare bones to its core.

For fast moving startups, this could be a great choice to keep the momentum going without taking a breath.

12. Zyro

Minimum entry-cost: $14.99/mo (paid monthly)

With a name like that, how could you not be intrigued? Zyro is a brand-new offering that is taking some risks and developing a fresh take on what an online store could be.

Their storefronts are mobile-first, and they offer a very simple platform that integrates with a much wider range of payment options than most of their competitors.

For startups who are looking to be on the cutting edge of eCommerce without breaking the bank, Zyro could be a great choice – provided you buy into their new philosophy on what the stores of the future are going to look like.

13. Weebly

Minimum entry-cost: $16/mo (paid monthly)

Weebly has been a go-to website builder for a long time now and when Square acquired them, the eCommerce functionality got a lot more attention.

Their platform is very comprehensive and offers great features at very competitive prices.

It’s robust and resilient to whatever your startup could throw at it.

It’s easy to use and it doesn’t take long to get up the learning curve. All in all, it remains a fantastic choice for startups in every industry who want to get things up and running quickly and without fuss.

That’s basically it.

What is the best eCommerce platform for startups?

It all comes down to personal preferences. What are your needs? How many products do you expect to have on your website? And do you need special features to go along with your store?